Category Archives: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Google Wants High Quality Content, But What Does That Mean?

Okay writers and webmasters, you’re good, but you continually challenge yourself to better.  This post is ready to be a resource to you.  We’d like to explain the following:

  1. The crux about quality from the recently leaked, March 2014 Google rater’s guideline manual.
  2. What high quality means.
  3. The attributes of low quality content.
  4. What you can do to improve your website’s content.

The Rubric- Google’s 2014 Search Quality Manual

Behind the scenes, an army of quality raters double check the accuracy of Google’s algorithms before and after updates. These raters are issued guidelines, which steer their evaluations and reflect what the juices are in the current or upcoming algorithm changes. The latest handbook, version 5.0, was recently leaked. We wrote about the 2011 version, and gave an overview of the new version at Relevance. What’s important for you to know is that E-A-T, or Expertise, Authority, and Trust are now key factors when determining Google search engine rankings.  Most insiders have known that the reputation of one’s brand is an important ranking factor, but this manual gives a detailed look at the factors that determine site popularity- well, popularity isn’t even the right word.  It’s more about the culminating signals behind your site’s reputation.

If you’re the Director of Marketing, you’ll want to download your own copy of this handbook at scribd.com because it talks about design and functionality elements, too.  Since My Web Writers focuses on content creation, we’re going to drill down into that aspect of the handbook.

Definitions of Highest and High Quality Pages

I really like how Google defines quality and provides so many specific examples.  It says,

“Highest pages are very satisfying pages which achieve their purpose very well. The distinction between High and Highest is based on the quality of MC <each site’s main content> as well as the level of E-A-T and reputation of the website. What makes a page highest quality? We require at least one of the following: <1> Very high or highest quality MC, with demonstrated expertise, talent, and/or skill.  <2> Very high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (page and website) on the topic of the page. <3> Very good reputation (website or author) on the topic of the page… We will consider the MC of the page to be very high or highest quality when it is created with a high degree of time and effort, and in particular, expertise, talent, and skill. Very high quality MC may be created by experts, hobbyists, or even people with everyday expertise. Our standards depend on the purpose of the page and the type of content. The Highest rating may be justified for pages with a satisfying or comprehensive amount of very high quality MC.”

This means that as a writer, if you are writing outside of your area expertise and don’t do your homework, your average content could sink a website. Conversely, if you’ve specialized in a certain area, interest, or hobby, you could see a surge in demand for your knowledge after people get familiar with this document.  Writers, don’t be deterred from tackling new subjects, but when you do, do your homework.  Talk to experts and include their testimonies in your articles and quotes. You also can’t slop through the writing process.  Check your spelling.  Get the subject and verb agreements right.  Go deeper than what the culmination of five articles say about the topic.  Nobody wants to read repurposed articles when they’re looking for new angles. Pick up the phone and dig up unique quotes or tidbits of information that no one knows.  Google tells raters that,

“Highest quality pages and websites have a very high level of expertise or are highly authoritative or highly trustworthy. Formal expertise is important for topics such as medical, financial, or legal advice. Expertise may be less formal for topics such as recipes or humor. An expert page on cooking may be a page on a professional chef’s website, or it may be a page on the blog of a home cooking enthusiast. Please value life experience and “everyday expertise.” For some topics, the most expert sources of information are ordinary people sharing their life experiences on personal blogs, forums, reviews, discussions, etc. Think about what expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness mean for the topic of the page. Who are the experts? What makes a source trustworthy for the topic? What makes a website highly authoritative for the topic?”

Google would also like to see secondary content on high ranking websites, if possible.  From videos to games to reviews, find ways to help users delve a little deeper and engage a little longer. Not every high ranking site has to have secondary content, but if it has good secondary content, that’s a plus.

The Attributes of Low and Lowest Quality Content

Compare what content needs to achieve top scores to what deserves low scores. First, it’s important to note, Google recognizes intent.

“We have very different standards for pages on large, professionally-produced business websites than we have for small amateur, hobbyist, or personal websites. The type of page design and level of professionalism we expect for a large online store is very different than what we might expect for a small local business website. All PQ rating should be done in the context of the purpose of the page and the type of website. The following sections discuss page characteristics which may be evidence of Low quality. Occasionally, these same characteristics may be present on smaller amateur or personal websites and are not a concern. Please use your judgment when deciding whether these characteristics are evidence of low quality on the page you are evaluating, or merely a sign of non-professional but acceptable small, amateur, or personal website design, for example, “Uncle Alex’s Family Photos” website (a hypothetical High quality example).”

Google lowers scores if main or secondary content is distracting or unhelpful.  For example, too many ads are distracting and appear to have the purpose of monetizing the site rather than helping users. If the site lacks supplementary content, this too can lower the site’s score. Poor page design or a lack of website maintenance (meaning broken links or slow load images) can hurt your site’s score.  As much contact information as possible should be added. Google tells raters that,

“We have different standards for small websites which exist to serve their communities versus large websites with a large volume of webpages and content. For some types of ‘webpages,’ such as PDFs and JPEG files, we expect no SC <secondary content> at all. Please use your judgment… Here is a checklist of types of pages or websites which should always receive the lowest rating:

• Harmful or malicious pages or websites.

• True lack of purpose pages or websites.

• Deceptive pages or websites.

• Pages or websites which are created to make money with little to no attempt to help users.

• Pages with extremely low or lowest quality MC <main content>.

• Pages on YMYL <Your Money or Your Life> websites with completely inadequate or no website information.

• Pages on abandoned, hacked, or defaced websites.

• Pages or websites created with no expertise or pages which are highly untrustworthy, unreliable, unauthoritative, inaccurate, or misleading.

• Websites which have extremely negative or malicious reputations.”

Image courtesy of Flat earth Society

Image courtesy of Flat earth Society

This list seems fairly straight-forward and yet, one could see where rater subjectivity could get the better of a site. Pages or websites that are “untrustworthy, unreliable, unauthoritative, inaccurate, or misleading” could tank a business or individual with rogue opinions or controversial views.  The overall checklist appears reasonable, however, if Christopher Columbus had a website back in his time, I wonder how he’d score? Taken in whole, the document is fairly clear that raters should look at how well you, as the content’s creator, did your homework and presented information or opinions; but, the “unreliable, unauthoritative, inaccurate, or misleading” phrase on its own should be considered a warning shot fired about appearing half-baked in the public arena.

Definitions of Lowest Quality Content

The writer who has the depth of a baby pool probably shouldn’t be assigned very heady topics.  As a manager, find each writer’s strengths and let each write about those topics. Google says that,

“The quality of the MC <main content> is one of the most important considerations in PQ <page quality> rating. In this guideline, we’ll judge the quality of the MC by thinking about the how much time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill was involved in content creation. If very little or no time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill has gone into creating the MC, use the lowest quality rating. All of the following should be considered either lowest quality MC or no MC:

• No helpful MC at all or so little MC that the page effectively has no MC.

• MC which consists almost entirely of “keyword stuffing.”

• Gibberish or meaningless MC.

• “Auto-generated” MC, created with little time, effort, expertise, manual curation, or added value for users.

• MC which consists almost entirely of content copied from another source with little time, effort, expertise, manual curation, or added value for users.

Finally, the distinction between low and lowest quality MC is often human effort and manual curation. If you are struggling between ‘low quality MC’ and ‘lowest quality MC,’ please consider how much human effort and attention the page has received.”

When writing this article, I struggled with how much content out of Google’s manual I should quote.  My reasoning to go ahead and use as much as I have is because to date, not much has been written about the manual and not everyone, who is in a position to change their website, will read the 160 page document (though they should) or if they do, they might want further insight about it.  Thus, I think the amount of quoted handbook content is justified, given the extra value added with insight around the quoted content.

However, this is different than copying and pasting half an article without attribution or even with attribution and not adding further value to what already exists on the web. Nothing is worse than paying a writer to create original content and discovering that it is backwash.

Google says,

“Important: We do not consider legitimately licensed or syndicated content to be ‘copied’ (see here for more on web syndication). Examples of syndicated content in the U.S. include news articles by AP or Reuters. The word ‘copied’ refers to the practice of ‘scraping’ content, or copying content from other non-affiliated websites without adding any original content or value to users (see here for more information on copied or scraped content). If all or most of the MC on the page is copied, think about the purpose of the page. Why does the page exist? What value does the page have for users? Why should users look at the page with copied content instead of the original source?”

What You Can Do to Improve Content

Deliver what you promise for each keyword query you target. If you want to rank for the term “Arabian Horses for Sale” your page ought to have pictures and descriptions of several Arabian horses. You’ll want other websites to have great reviews from customers about your previous transactions. You should be registered and a thriving member of Arabian horse registries. Don’t let your content get off topic, but do make it be so rich that users will want to return and will recommend it to others. Make sure you spell check your work and don’t stuff the content with too many keywords.

We recommend reading the raters’ guidelines to learn more about how to improve the content of your website. You’ll find additional insight about what it means to have high quality content. ~Jean

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Filed under Algorithms, Branding, Business Strategy, Editors, Keywords, Reputation Management, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

How Much Does Grammar Matter to Google and Bing?

Copyright 2014 My Web Writers

Copyright 2014 My Web Writers

We’re often ask us how much punctuation and grammar matter to search engine results. The short answer is, “Yes, grammar, spelling, and usage do matter.”  It’s like asking a business professional if he or she will be judged on his or her clothing at work.  While some offices are more casual than others, you’ll be judged. Google’s grammar dress code might be slightly less formal than Bing’s, but both search companies value articles that users can read without hindrances.

Google’s Content Quality Guidelines

We wrote a whole content quality series based on Google’s content guidelines after Panda came out in 2011.  Check out the four parts to learn more about Google’s quality content checklist. You’ll want to make sure that you double check spelling and grammar, as well as provide authoritative support and elaboration.

Bing’s Position on Common Errors

Duane Forrester of Bing, wrote a post February 20, 2014 that establishes Bing’s position on content quality.  If you haven’t read it, yet, take a moment to do so.  In a nutshell, Mr. Forrester suggests that if your content is littered with common errors, the reader will be frustrated and the poor quality will affect your search results.  Web pages with grammar or spelling mistakes won’t float to the top of Bing.

My Web Writers is available with several editors if you need help proofreading your copy.

Article Evaluation Template

If you’re just looking for a little guidance, download this article evaluation worksheet and ask someone else in your office to score your articles with it. Use the rubric to solicit general feedback from others or just use it as a general checklist to review before publishing. I used this template for student peer review when I was teaching English 101 years ago.  The template was originally published by D.C. Heath Grammar and Composition, which was sold to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Originally published by DC Heath and Company

Originally published by DC Heath and Company

Remember, even the best writers borrow a second set of eyes before publishing! Revising and proofreading are just standard actions steps.

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Filed under Grammar, Panda, Revising & Proofreading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What can we learn about marketing from CNBC’s marketing of The Profit?

Donald Trump. Mark Cuban.

Mr. Wonderful. 

Kevin oleary make up

In the last eight months, a new business teacher has emerged to entertain weary and wanna-be entrepreneurs.

Who is this new profit?

Marcus Lemonis- and his show, The Profit.  (Do you think the show’s name was purposeful?)

Lean in. We can certainly learn a lot about marketing from a network marketing machine trying to launch a new television show.

To start, watch CNBC’s The Profit.  It’s a newer show trying to build an audience in its second season.  At its start in August 2013, the show weighed in between 248,000 viewers and 254,000 viewers, but as of March 18, 2014, the audience grew to 415,000 in the 10 pm time slot thanks to the Worldwide Trailer Sales episode .

What has the series been doing to build its brand?

 

Airing Interesting Content

Piggy-backing off of the success of Shark Tank, the premise of The Profit is that accomplished businessman, Marcus Lemonis, can save failing businesses and ultimately generate profit, if current owners are willing to sell their majority shares for Lemonis’ infusions of cash, instruction, and hard work.  The Profit’s Worldwide Trailer Sales episode, for example, while controversial, ranked well with general audiences because it was a lesson in what not to do in business– don’t air dirty laundry in front of co-workers and employees.

The Profit team also delivers related business insights and advice via video and articles through the show’s CNBC web site.

Knowing your niche and casting stories that are interesting and insightful are integral components to success.  If you sell a service or a product, focus on delivering the best possible quality product.  Hire a team that understands how to deliver the type of content that’s needed for each channel. You can drive segmented audience traffic to your website or store, if you deliver a story that’s relevant, engaging, and right-sized for your customers.

I once had a college professor spilt our class into thirds.  Some of us were producers and had to conjure up show names and premises.  Some of us were advertisers trying to decide where we wanted to place our advertising, and the rest were sales people.  All of us voted on what shows we would want to watch.

The lesson?  In a public university college class, the most outrageous titles always won the popular vote and usually those had to do with sex, models, and alcohol.  Nice, straight-forward, and generally wholesome programming usually bombed.  Advertisers soon learned that they had to weigh exposure to more viewers against their brand’s image and associations.  Sales people didn’t want to get stuck selling low-rated shows to advertisers, so they pitched work more often with those producers who had a string of titles that resonated with audiences.  I learned that what I thought would go over big (nice, educational shows) didn’t and, in looking back, some of the voting was probably influenced by certain frats hosting the party that night.  The content has to fit the audience and be justified with numbers.

When I saw the Worldwide Trailer Sales Inc episode of The Profit, I had déjà vu.  That crazy episode- with the foul language and bad behavior, had all the makings of a winner in the ratings.

 

Real-Time Engagement on Social Media

So, after the show, @marcuslemonis stayed an hour longer to tweet with fans.  Without ruining the show for you (because it ends rather abruptly), this technique helped viewers to sort through reactions. What a great idea!  Use social media to start, clarify, or end conversations.  How?  Create a video or blog post about your service or product.  Then, expand upon the conversation in another channel.  Ask viewers to migrate there with you.  You’ll influence search, loyalty, and engagement with this technique.

Producers of the Profit received some decent feedback about the March 18, 2014 show and I suspect a sequel to the Worldwide Trailers episode was even discussed.  If not, the feedback was valuable for fine-tuning Season 3 criteria and upcoming episodes.  Test the market place for your product or service with feedback obtained from social media.

If anything, Twitter gave Lemonis the opportunity to share feelings and thoughts about the show.  He worked on developing relationships with his emerging fan base.The profit tweets

Lemonis uses his Twitter account to promote upcoming shows and to build his personal brand.  He asks for entries for The Profit’s next casting season and promotes contests that give fans chances to ask him questions and to meet him for lunch.

Is your CEO using Twitter to rally the troops and to promote your brand?

 

Create Memes

The Profit Facebook page employs another search marketing tactic.  It features memes.The profit meme

Take professional pictures of scenes from your story and add wording to those pictures to create memes or info-graphics that link to your website. People are more likely to share pictures and those shares- especially on G+ and Facebook can influence search engine results.  Pinners are even creating boards with sayings from the show!

What are your company’s sayings?  Take snippets of the CEO’s best speeches, add them to pictures, and ask the team to pin ‘em.

Lemonis and The Profit are also on Zeebox.  What’s Zeebox? It’s a place where TV fans go to hang-out with cast members and fans of their favorite shows.  The conversations in these micro-communities give producers feedback and insights, while feeding additional information to fans.

 

Create Videos

The Profit shares about ten full-length episodes on its website. It then breaks those videos into smaller tidbits with inserts of business advice from Lemonis.  You can do this, too.  What is your company’s story?  Its mission?  What does it do well?  Educate your customers, your employees, or your partners with a YouTube channel filled with useful videos.

 

Cross Promote other Channels

If you own other properties or are in relationships with partners, promote each other.

Lemonis tweets to Shark Tank investors, interviews with CNBC, and appears on CNBC’s Power Lunch.  The Profit even sponsored a Nascar raceLemonis is also visible promoting the show with interviews like this one with the HuffPost. Stories and interviews are cropping up on blogs like Inc., My Web Writers, and Ken McCarthy.

The result?  More exposure.

Growing ratings.

Increased profits for the companies vested in the show.

 

Marketing Take-Aways

What can you learn from the marketing of CNBC’s new show, The Profit?

  1. Know who you are and what you want to say to customers.
  2. Promote your mission in sound bites and actions through tweets, posts, memes, and videos.
  3. Be available. Stay engaged with customers.
  4. Cross promote. Find like-minded partners and help each other by interviewing and promoting each other.
  5. Provide relevant content that your niche will actually want to digest and share.

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Marketing, Pinterest, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Social Media contests, Twitter

Radio’s One-to-One Marketing Secret Resurrected

radio-dialOne-to-one marketing is not new.  Successful radio broadcasters have leveraged this form of communication for almost one hundred years.  As the Radio Association of Broadcasters Users Guide notes, “Most people listen to radio on their own in their own personal space such as the car, the kitchen, the bedroom etc.  When they say it on TV, they’re saying it to everybody, whereas when I hear it on the radio they’re saying it more to me personally.”

Just like radio, this is how the Internet works today.  While surfing the web, a one-to-one message is targeting a specific audience group.  That message is further refined with each click to the individual level as specific content marketing strategies for top sites are being personalized for each user.

Four trends will continue to support this ongoing growth of one-to-one content marketing on the web for many years to come:

The one-size-fits-all marketing broadcast from the 20th century is not relevant in this era of social media.  Take note of how many Super Bowl and Olympics commercials on the broadcast networks encourage viewers to engage personally with the brand.  Customers are individuals and do not want to be treated like masses.  That was how TV broadcasts used to work.  Today, top brands treat individuals as they are and address their own unique sets of wants and needs.  Just follow the conversations brands are having with followers using hashtags seen on these television commercials.  By its personalized nature, one-to-one marketing via social media fulfills this desire to have each individual’s voice be heard.

Personalized direct marketing will only increase.  Despite all the time saving devices, shoppers are more pressed than ever for time.  Personal content marketing will continue to grow to meet the needs of customers who don’t want to wait in long lines or sit in traffic.  They seek to make quick purchase decisions.  Crowd sourcing product recommendations through “customers who bought this also bought this” algorithms cut to the chase and streamline the web shopping experience.

Consumers will freely share the brands they are loyal to with others.  Shoppers love the perks they receive from brands that reinforce a unique value proposition during every purchase occasion. One-to-one marketing techniques used by eCommerce marketers today focus on discovering a brand’s best customers and reward them frequently for their loyalty.  Who doesn’t share news of big discounts received or memorable experiences?

Mass-media approaches will decline.  With advances in business intelligence gathering, market research analysis, and database mining technology, marketers will be able to engage customers personally in ways never before imagined.  GPS tracking, geo fences, and instant messaging will provide potential customers with the right message, at the right moment, at the right location.  These technological advances will offer one-to-one marketers a more cost-effective way to reach customers as businesses continue to personalize their messages.

While most decision-makers realize that one-to-one communication opens the door to revenue, knowing which technologies and human resources are worth investing in to make your marketing plan successful takes wisdom. The number of companies in the content marketing space has more than doubled in the last couple years. This rapid growth was sparked by Google’s Panda update in 2011, which emphasized quality content and continues with the 2013 Hummingbird update. While there have been abuses to guest posting for SEO back-links, which Matt Cutt’s addressed in his January 2014 post, “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO,” marketing with a targeted message in mind will continue to thrive in blogs, social media, press releases, video and on your website. Investing in quality content creation continues to be an integral part of one-to-one marketing success.


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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Hummingbird, Marketing, Panda

Keyword Research Ideas for Content Writers

Keyword research

When creating content, you want to be sure that you’re strategically using keywords that will enhance your search engine optimization (SEO) and help readers find your work. To give your writing a competitive advantage, it’s not enough to blindly write and hope that search engines will find your work. Rather, you must carefully think about the words you’re using. Even words with similarly meanings can have drastically different search engine results and so you want to be sure to pick the keywords that will serve you best.

Before you even begin writing, there are some key steps you should take to identify the most relevant and powerful keywords to include in your content. Here are five pieces of advice that will help to point you in the right direction for researching effective and meaningful keywords.

Think like your audience

Try and place yourself in the mindset of the audience you’re trying to reach. What are these people likely searching for? What terms or words are they most likely to use in their searches? For some audiences, these might be very technical and professional terms, for others the keywords might be more common and casual. Even before you research your keywords, research your audience and the terms they most commonly use.

Choose a popular niche

The terms “popular” and “niche” may seem to contradict each other, especially when it comes to keywords. Should you pick popular and frequently searched terms and risk competing with millions of other writers or should you pick a smaller niche where you have a better chance of making an impact? The answer is you need a balance of both. Research keywords that are popular and research keywords that are unique. Then develop a short list that includes some from both. This balance will help give your content strengths in both areas and increase your SEO.

Use meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are descriptions of your content (in 150 characters or less) and are excellent opportunities for search engine optimization. Before you begin writing, create your meta description as a way to focus your content and highlight your most relevant keywords. This description will then act as a very succinct summary that will help tailor the rest of your writing and help search engines to more easily find and archive your content.

Take advantage of free tools

There are a lot of free tools out there that can aid in your keyword research. Keywordspy.com provides a stealthy way for you to review the keywords that your competitors are using and clearly identify the most profitable combinations of keywords and ad copy to use. Another tool with a free option is semrush.com which most uniquely provides you with a visual comparison of various SEO metrics. This is helpful for identifying trends and opportunities that might be missed when looking only at numbers.

Additionally, one of the most effective websites for researching keywords is InboundWriter.com. With a free account you can research terms and phrases before you begin writing to see how they rank among other options. Then, as you incorporate high ranking keywords into your content, you will be given a score for how optimized your content is, while being offered tips for how to improve its ranking.

Don’t overdo it

Overloading your article with long lists of keywords won’t better serve your SEO or your readers. Instead, the keywords will appear crammed and read awkwardly since they likely won’t flow with the text. Narrow down your long list of keywords to just the top few that will provide you with the most powerful results. Then, spread your keywords evenly throughout your writing so they appear to be more organic.

Use these five pieces of advice to make your content even more powerful with the use of keywords. While SEO can sometimes be an intimidating and confusing topic, these tips offer some easy and straightforward ways that will help you to write even more effectively and reach an even broader audience!    ~Stephanie

Share your insight! What other ways have you found helpful for researching keywords?

Other Posts:

What should web writers know about content creation in 2014?

Seven Keyword Tools that Help Writers to Create Rich Semantic Connections

Put a Little Romance in Your Vocabulary with Ten Synonyms for Love!

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Keywords, Research Tips

What should web writers know about content creation?

Strong content is a must-have to make your sites not only user-friendly but highly-ranked in search results. These tips will help you find a strong balance of readability and SEO.

Move Beyond Keywords

With each change to the Google algorithm, the role of keywords becomes more sophisticated. Keyword density higher than 2% can actually hurt your ranking. Just looking at keyword data will no longer work for generating high-ranking content. Additionally, the implementation of encrypted searching will make keyword data less reliable. Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Watch suggests continually building your content and refreshing pages to signal that your site is alive and growing, rather than focusing strictly on search terms.

Write Like People Think

When you do use keywords, the new secret is to instead use search terms in a way that more naturally reflects how the word is used conversationally or the way people think about the words. For example, instead of using shorthanded terms in your meta titles and keywords, use phrases or concepts. As search engines begin processing natural language more frequently, the change may become a hindrance to ecommerce and business sites that use keywords less conceptually. For example, rather than using a title like “Find the Best Writing Solutions,” which emphasizes keywords like writing and solutions but doesn’t sound much like an inquiry someone might ask a search engine, you might try “How to Write Better” or “Best Ways to Improve Your Writing.” Whereas older algorithms focused on keywords, the new algorithms are looking more for phrases and concepts that reflect real people’s language use.

Engage Your Audience

Since you’ll be writing more like people think, it’s important to think more about for whom you’re writing. As content becomes more prevalent in search algorithms, so do different ways of assessing the quality of the content, such as authority and audience engagement. Quality content is frequently updated, helpful, and targeted for your audience. Aim for content that will get the audience to comment, bookmark, or share. End your posts with questions or prompts to encourage audience participation and use reader feedback to help you assess who your audience really is. Not only does engagement with readers boost your SEO rank, it also helps you better address your readers in a way that makes them feel connected to your site or brand. Pay attention to signals that let you know what language, examples, and other trends are most engaging for your readers. Building a relationship with your audience is more complicated than analyzing keyword results, but it provides the biggest boost to your brand and content quality.

Use Social Media

While all social media is a huge means of generating traffic, you can’t underestimate the use of Google+ in developing your rank and content. Link your blog or website to Google+ and make sure that you generate content that crosses over well. Think eye-catching pictures, engaging questions, and sharp summaries that encourage users to click from your Google+ page to your blog or website. That linking builds your presence and authority in the Google algorithm.

Creating a broader social media strategy is an important part of getting your content seen and of generating more engagement and authority. When using social media consider your audience and which sites offer the best reach. A social media strategy must do more than simply sharing links and hoping they’ll get reposted. Introduce content with thought-provoking or click-worthy leads. Ask questions. Use visuals that grab attention. Many social media platforms use a lot of white space in their design, so visuals really pop. Meet your audience where they are and draw them into your content.

~Kasey

More Posts:

Content Improved Our Client’s Keyword Reach and Searchlight’s Data Proved It

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Filed under Algorithms, Content, Hummingbird, Keywords, Panda, Penguin, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

A Writer’s Insight into Google’s Hummingbird

By My Web Writers

Google's new bird is born. What do writers need to know?

Google’s new bird is born. What do writers need to know?

Don’t stop! Google’s new algorithm motor is humming.

On September 24, my mother passed away. On the day my family was burying her, Google announced its new Hummingbird algorithm change.

Something new is always born.

About the Hummingbird

The Hummingbird update hopes to go beyond the keywords users enter to deliver what users hope to find in their search results.

While driving in the car, we might ask Siri where the dog groomer is located or where we can find Indian food.  She usually keeps us on the road and headed in the right direction.  Sometimes she doesn’t know how late the closest pharmacy is open, though.  Why can’t she tell us store hours?

Quite often, the kids ask her questions about their school work.  She’ll just open Google search results.  Down the road, it’ll probably look a little different.

What do writers need to know to write for Hummingbird?

Our reliance on the phone voice like it’s a real person or a real assistant, is where search is headed.

Our job as content strategists or writers is to serve up the semantically rich information needed to help Siri, or her Android counterpart, to look smart.  The voice is the executive and we’re the secretaries.  She’s the TV anchor, we’re the producers in her ear.  We feed the facts, knowledge, and analysis in our content so that the mobile phone doesn’t look bad when she speaks- at least that’s the hope in the future.

The race to the deliver the best executive assistant is happening and Hummingbird is part of it all.  The more interconnected phrases, ah-ha’s, and knowledge you can write over any given topic, the faster you will help the boss.  You might even rank higher and convert traffic because of your efforts.

Semantically Rich Content is Lesson Planning

Look at preparing for Knowledge Graph in the same way a teacher would prepare units of study.  We call it scaffolding in education.  The more connections you can give students, on any given topic, the better they will learn that topic.  Be warned, executive.  Researching is a time (and cost) investment, unless you’re already an expert.

If you’re a writer and a parent, you probably give your own kids a variety experiences.  Not only do you want them to learn about the Civil War, but you might take them to Gettysburg or make them watch the Gods and Generals trilogy. Maybe you watch and discuss Lincoln or you participate in a Civil war re-enactment.  There are museums to visit and books to read.  Each slices up what we know about that time period in a variety of ways.

Be the Hummingbird Nector

This is the job of the modern content writer.  Deliver content that demonstrates our clients’ insight about their products or services.  Answer real questions that customers ask.  Give them depth of knowledge in the same way we offer more information to our kids when they ask (or don’t ask) for it.  That blog post you’re writing should be so on target, knowledgeable, and detailed that your company is the one that would be selected to show up on the Today show if they called needing expert testimony.

If you manage an e-commerce site and all you have are pictures on the site, good luck.  You may be doing okay today, but it’s doubtful that a wordless format will hold up in search over the long run.  Don’t be the brick and mortar on the Internet that feels safe because you’ve been around for years.  Anyone can build a website.  Any other brick and mortar can add category pages.  You have to use all the tools given to you.  Words are tools.  Sound and video are tools, too.

Semantically relevant content starts with conversations

If you’re having a hard time thinking about what content should go on your website, start talking to people.  Some Moms (and dads) are great at lectures.  You might start there. Take your widget topic and go to the closest nursing home and talk to elderly people about it.  Wrong audience, you say?

Sometimes you glean content gems by talking to the wrong audience.   So, talk to your kids and their friends about the topic or product.  Ask your hair dresser, manicurist, or tennis pals to weigh in, too.  Ask each to ask what questions come to mind when talking about widgets.

You might find that you need blog posts or website pages written at different levels for a variety of personas.  Don’t forget that the highest search engine out there is still the human mind- yours, mine, others’ combined.  Our minds are built to express feelings and opinions through a variety of words.  Tap into those and you’ll be feeding search with content that hums.  ~ Jean


Other Posts:

From Blah to Fab, Freshen Up Your Web Copy

Adding Content to their Website Increased Our Client’s Keyword Reach

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

Corporate Holiday Email Do’s and Don’ts

Attention to Details- What is Quality Content? Part 4

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Filed under Algorithms, Hummingbird